When I was writing a previous post I remembered that I had not shared with you of the tale of the young outlaws, the Richardson police and the apprehension of the hardened criminals at the community garden. How could I have overlooked such an amusing,exciting story? Let me correct the error now;
Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures of this incident, because unlike others on the net, when encountering a stressful situation I sometimes stand there in utter horror, I might duck or run, but I don’t ever whip out my phone and film it. My bad! Enjoy;
A few years ago the community garden was growing strong. It was, as it is now, melon time. Our mouths watered with the thought of the taste of a good ripe melon. Unfortunately the dream of a ripe melon was all our mouths were going to get, because the squirrels were getting them first. Now let me just say, that there is nothing quite like the desperation of a gardener, who has produce, just ripening up, except that it is ALL being eaten by those rats with good P.R. I just had a friend of mine call me the other day with that wild sound to her voice, desperate to defeat that clever rodent and be the FIRST to sink her teeth into a fresh sweet ear of corn. This is a VERY tricky problem for gardeners everywhere, but especially in the city. I explain all this, because this is the circumstance that was responsible for the idea to send in my son and his cousin, with bb guns, to defend the LAST ripe melon. Picture the squirrel here on the movie Ice Age; He would do ANYTHING for that last acorn. Ironic isn’t it! How the tables have turned.
So I loaded up these two sweet boys with bb guns and extra ammo, with full knowledge that it was against the law to shoot bb guns in the city. Let me just say for the record, that certain other adults also thought that this would be a good solution to our melon stealing bandit. However, I guess I have to add here, that all of these people, I am referring to, had melons growing in the garden also. Guarding one’s produce can be an all consuming obsession that will make you spend more money and take actions that you never thought you would! If you have never read a book titled:
you should give it a read this summer. It’s funny! It is hard to read the small print below the title, it says; How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden.
I can so relate; Please tell me someone else can relate also.
Back to the boys headed over to the garden; To be honest, don’t tell them, but I figured it was VERY unlikely that these two youngsters would shoot or harm anything. I just wanted to get them off the couch, pry those video game controllers out of their clutching hands and give them a real life, outdoor adventure.
Forgetting the last outdoor adventure I sent them on, which we refer to as the “The Outbreak of Poison Ivy of 2012”, I sent them off with instructions to hunker down behind the okra and wait for the thieving, fluffy tailed creature to present it’s self. Of course, it would be just my luck that a well meaning community garden member happened to decide to visit the garden at just such a time as this. Let me just pause here to ask; Have you ever met anyone with the middle name “drama”? Well I have. This was her. She promptly, as was her civic duty, dialed up 911, which alerted the Richardson police. We have no idea what exactly she reported to the dispatcher, however judging from the prompt and urgent response by police, I would wager a guess that she probably mentioned something about people with guns in the garden. I am also guessing she left out a few critical details, such as; KIDS and BB guns.
As was their duty, the Richardson police responded with 3 squad cars and quite the response it was too! Through the parking lot and onto the grass, they drove, surrounding the garden just like you see in the movies. Except this wasn’t the movies, this was real life , my real life! Shielded by their car doors, loud speaker in hand, they shouted towards the garden for the armed men to drop their weapons and come out with their hands held high. On that sunny day there were two young boys ,who stepped out from the shade of the okra patch, with hands held high and urine running down their legs. Kidding, I would probably have been wetting my pants ,but then again I have birthed five kids. The boys held strong.
The police officers quickly summed up the situation, cursed the added DRAMA from the caller and approached the boys with a friendly attitude. In fact, the police officers felt so bad about “the I almost made you pee your pants part” that they tried to make up for it by showing the kids the inside of the squad car and letting them turn on the lights and siren for just a moment. Really? In my view, as a parent, the inside of a police car should never be a fun, pleasant, exciting place to be. Unless you, of course, are going to work your butt off to be in the driver’s seat. In that case; God help you and keep you! Support our men in BLUE!
Wait for it, there’s more; Here is the part where I get dragged into the situation. So when the nice officer offered to give the boys a ride home in the back of his squad car, my son says, “Well that doesn’t make sense for me to ride in your car when I can just walk across the street.” Pointing, he adds, “There is my home right there, with my mom in it. She is the one that told me to do this in the first place.”
“Son, when a police officer asks you nicely to get in the back of the squad car, just do it! Also, NEVER throw the parental unit, that got you into trouble in the first place, under the bus! She cooks your food.”
He had strict instructions to, if he was questioned, claim he was an orphan desperate for a meal of squirrel and veggies. He was then to dolefully look up at the person(never imagined it would be an officer of the law) with his dark brown soulful eyes and add a little chin quiver(I know he can do this because he has tried it on me successfully on more than one occasion) therefore skillfully averting all attention off of me and effectively throwing the Pastor of the church under the bus. O.K. even I admit, shaky plan at best and perhaps not the most ethical path to go down, but really, who can walk into a church, call out and dress down a Pastor. Besides, this particular Pastor has a congenial easy going personality and calm reassuring presence. I had full confidence that he could talk his way out of any conflict that happened to land in his lap. In my desperate melon saving frenzy, I wasn’t thinking very clearly, at all it seems, when I gave that wee bit of instruction. Thinking back I can see that this was not one of my more stellar parenting moments.
Mean while back at the house, looking up from cooking dinner, I couldn’t help but notice the lights, the noise, the drama going on across the street and stood at my window,with open mouth watching in horror with two things going through my mind. Please, please don’t shoot my kid and I hope he doesn’t forget to throw the Pastor under the bus.
So this is how my son got his first ride in the back of a squad car, which he enjoyed WAY too much, just say’in! This is also how I got a thorough and correct explanation of the law from a kind but shaky police officer, who had just surrounded and called out two wee boys with bb guns from behind a tall okra patch. Truth be told I felt so sorry for the man, as he was still visibly shaking! It is not an easy job to be a police officer, that is for sure. Support our men and women in blue!
I wish I could report that we learned our lesson and that we locked up our bb guns forever, but I would be lying. I REALLY cannot express to you the desperation of a gardener that has worked ALL season for a few ripe melons just to have them stolen just at the point of ripeness by a cheeky bandit with the twitch of his tail! However I am pleased to report that this tail twitching bandit has become more cocky and we have become smarter. We temp them to our backyard, where all bets are off! This is the time to purchase that Red Rider BB gun that your son, spouse, or you have secretly always wanted. A strategically placed stump, a sacrificial melon or my favorite, a large head of a sunflower and you have yourself a solution. If you are a squirrel lover and I have offended you, well, all will be forgiven. I will lay off your furry friends, if you would just come to my house each week with a organically grown, vine ripe cantaloupe, 6 vine ripe tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob and a bushel of peaches. Yeh, I didn’t think so. I rest my case.
So the moral of this story is to investigate all your options before jumping in to an unlawful one. It could turn out differently then you could ever have imagined! There are many other ways to defeat this sneaky bandit that will NOT result in a dramatic police response. I personally want a motion activated sprinkler! It is way out of our budget, but I can’t help it, I still really want one of those sprinklers! If you can’t resist here is a link to one; Click anywhere on the image. Who can resist with the name
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Sprinkler
I think is the “Yard Enforcer” part of the name that gets me. Like you have just hired the terminator to be in charge of defending your melons! Oh, I want one! Taking a deep cleansing breath here. After reading the $64 dollar tomato, I can see, that this sprinkler might be a bit of an overkill. If we are going to feed our families we have to look for inexpensive, problem saving options. Right? (If you get one and try it, please let me know if it works! I REALLY, REALLY want to know!)
Holding strong and looking for free or almost free options:
1st free option; Call and request a”Have a Heart” live trap from your city. Most animal control units will issue a trap, free of charge, if you leave a check with them, just in case the trap never comes back. However you can’t keep this trap forever and I am going to say right now that if you are not willing to buy a bb gun with a scope,or an amazing terminator sprinkler then, you are going to need that trap; forever. You can buy one at your local feed store for about $30.00. We questioned the man at the animal control center about what to do with the squirrel once we caught it. We asked, “Can we kill it?” To which he replied in horror, “Oh no, you have to drive out and release it some where safe.”
We asked him for his address.
Moving on to;
2nd almost free option; Make a melon protection cage. While this would not work for acres and acres of melons, it can work for the home gardener.
Take a tomato cage and cut off the top, leaving long spikes to push down into the ground. Cover this “cage” with chicken wire. One circle for the top and a long piece wrapped around the sides. I gave my boys, along with some of the neighborhood kids, ice cream in exchange for making mine. Amazing what hot kids will do for something cold in the Summer. That is if you can coax them outside and pry the video game controllers out of their hands. That is a big IF! Once you have your protection cages built; Push the stakes into the earth therefore making a impenetrable cage over your melon and there you have it, perhaps the most diabolical solution to your problem. That cute little fluffy tailed enemy can see the melon. They can smell the melon. They just cannot eat the melon. Here give your best villain laugh from the depths of your melon defending self. Maw Ha Haaaaw! Then give it again, just for fun; Maw Ha Haaaaw! Oh, but I forgot for a moment, we are the good guys. When your enemy is so cute, it is hard to keep it all straight. “Good guys, we are the good guys.”
However this does NOTHING to help my friend with corn. There is no cage big enough for Texas sized corn! What can I say, a squirrel will lay down it’s life for corn. I don’t grow it. Same with pinto beans, you need the back forty, acres that is, to get a good yield. Never gotten anything to eat from my efforts. I buy it from the store. Corn, it is cheap, sadly, genetically modified, but cheap.
Thankfully a hawk seems to have adopted the community garden. He soars overhead consistently watching for our enemy. “Yes! ” What took you so long? Black Hawk” His full name is “The Black Hawk Protection Unit” Yes, I am a mom of 4 boys. I named him myself.
As for the Front Yard Garden, at Bloom Where You’re Planted; I am pleased to announce that a pair of mocking birds are working that space. By working, I mean they are dive bombing any squirrel who dare enter the garden. In fact, they seem to have claimed the space as their own. Yes, I have to sacrifice the occasional tomato, but I say it is worth it. Kind of like a graceful, fierce, swift flying mafia presence keeping out the riff raff. Comparing two birds to a neighborhood of sparrows and squirrels, I think you can see the odds are in my favor and mockingbirds don’t like melon!
I hope you have enjoyed this story. You might think I am making this up, because after all how does all this stuff really happen to one family? In answer to that, I say; yes, absolutely, totally made up! No one could be that stupid to send their kids with bb guns out like that. What responsible law abiding citizen would act like that? Furthermore my friends are saying, “No it can’t be true. She is such a sweet, upstanding, law abiding, home school mom. Not a, “throw the Pastor under the bus, squirrel killing maniac.”
Grow a garden. Work hard. Produce something worth eating. Have it stolen right from under your nose. Then we will see, who is a sane responsible adult that carefully thinks things through! I rest my case!
This post was shared onOur Simple Homestead Blog Hop